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Puberty and bone development.

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Endocrine Unit, Division of Pediatrics, Department of Reproductive Medicine and Pediatrics, University of Pisa, Via Roma 35, I-56125 Pisa, Italy.


Puberty has a key role for bone development. Skeletal mass approximately doubles at the end of adolescence. The main determinants of pubertal gain of bone mass are the sex steroids, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factors (by their effects on bone and muscle mass), 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (by stimulating calcium absorption and retention) and muscle mass (by regulating modelling/remodelling thresholds). Calcium intake is an additional factor influencing bone formation. The interactions among these factors are undefined. The accrual of bone mass during puberty is a major determinant of peak bone mass and, thereby, of the risk of osteoporotic fractures during advanced age.

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